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REVISITING OLD ROUTES?
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Memory stirred by talk of (i) cars being too powerful (or not) and (ii) skipping lectures at university to go out driving just for the hell of it, this reminded me of the experience of re-acquainting yourself with a road you used to know well but in a very different/more powerful car.

As a student, I used to drive several times a year to and from university in Scotland. I always made sure my route included a "spirited" drive on the A696/A68 between Newcastle and Edinburgh, which for a main route, is (or used at any rate to be) rather a fantastic driver's road that wriggles across the Northumberland national park and over the border. I saw "spirited" advisedly, because ultimately there's only so fast you can make a diesel Rover 100 go, particularly if laden with all your student possessions. But the point is that I basically used to enjoy driving that little tin can absolutely flat out and was used to scything through most of the twisty bits (and there are some tricksy bits) of that road without really lifting (100s, being Metros, actually drove surprisingly well).

A couple of years after leaving university, I found myself heading back up there in my first decently quick car, a first-gen Audi S3, so of course took the old favourite route. And, but for that car's fortunately surefooted grip, I nearly killed myself more than once on the way up, not least by arriving at the twistier bends much, much quicker than I was used to doing and finding them much, much sharper than I remembered. Definitely a salutary lesson.

Anyone else had similar experiences?

Also, while it was clearly lots of fun to have a faster and more capable car (not least because I could overtake without planning the manoeuvre two miles in advance), I confess the road actually wasn't quite as fun as I remembered it - in a way the challenge of max-attack in the hopelessly underpowered and skinny-tyred Rover had seemed more engaging….

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Exploring the dark side in a brace of Bavaria's finest.

http://www.auto-journals.com/journals/BMW?model=Z1&journal=188

There are roads local to me that as 17 year olds we would take absolutely flat out. When I go down them now I wonder why they don't have a 30 limit :shock: :lol:

But then flat out in a 1098 Mini Clubman isn't all that quick, I suppose.

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She's built like a steakhouse but she handles like a bistro.

When I was 20 I got a Peugeot 205SR; I lived in Oxford (most of the year, at least) and spent a lot of time exploring the neighbourhood and further afield. It was just after Phil Llewellyn's Route Master series of articles in Car had been published so I had to head off to Wales regularly to play. Petrol was cheap in those days...

My abiding memory is of doing 100mph everywhere, even the little lanes near Oxford. Getting your first car which can manage 100mph and being young, that's obviously what you'd do, surely?

Every now and again I drive down the same lanes these days and wonder how, in a car probably less than half as powerful as anything I've owned in the last 15 years, I managed such speed. I was going to say, 'without crashing' - but I did end up crashing it, after 6 months of such antics, ironically while driving relatively slowly but into a dead end.

Jobbo said...

My abiding memory is of doing 100mph everywhere, even the little lanes near Oxford. Getting your first car which can manage 100mph and being young, that's obviously what you'd do, surely?

The mighty Rover couldn't quite crack the tonne (except downhill on a motorway with the wind behind it!) but yes I know what you mean. Being young, dumb etc, I accidently yumped it once at high speed having been distracted by a sign for a "secret" nuclear bunker and thus not having spotted the road had a hump in it. That was very buttock-clenching. The marvels of hydrolastic suspension....

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Exploring the dark side in a brace of Bavaria's finest.

http://www.auto-journals.com/journals/BMW?model=Z1&journal=188

On a familiar and very good road I forgot I was in the Civic and thought I was in my old 106, I took a crest flat out, got some air and nearly went through a hedge and got a bit of LOO. Gathered it all up but I scared the crap out of myself, although it takes some serious provocation to make an EK Civic LOO, in the 106 it was quite easy.

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Stolen Orions on fire off the hard shoulder of the M8. I watched neds litter in the dark near the Tennents shop. All those... moments... will be lost in time, like [coughs] tears... in... rain. Time... to die...

It occurred to me that in that scenario, "LOO" could have more than one meaning....

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Exploring the dark side in a brace of Bavaria's finest.

http://www.auto-journals.com/journals/BMW?model=Z1&journal=188

Jobbo said...

Every now and again I drive down the same lanes these days and wonder how, in a car probably less than half as powerful as anything I've owned in the last 15 years, I managed such speed.

I know exactly what you mean. There's a hill out of Marlborough that ends with a sharp corner & two bridges at the bottom. I remember that I wouldn't brake until I got to 100mph. This was in a Mk1 Astra 1.3, & when I even think about trying it now, I bottle way before I get to the ton! And this is in a car with twice the power, less weight & far better brakes :shock:

WTF were we thinking back then :lol:

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Cheers,

Gwaredd

steelesigns.co.uk

I wouldn't drive down the country lanes where I used to live in any car at speeds that 17 yo me used to take them in my mum's 1.1 Fiesta. Serious lack of imagination at that age.

I think half the problem is the roads are in a much worse state, certainly round here. Although I used to drive quickly in a car with what, 50hp I know I couldn't do that in it now.

In a big car it's tiresome going down the country lanes, I can't drive as quickly, I can't stop as quickly and it's too big to squeeze into a hedge with an oncoming car. The corners certainly feel tighter and that's due to the mass of the car, getting into the Escort and driving the same route with more power and less mass makes the roads feel like they did when I first started driving.

I'm a big fan of lighter cars, they're so much nicer to drive but the state of the roads is killing off any fun whatsoever (unless you're into green laning)

A few years ago I re-drove part of my route to college. Considering I used to do it in a mid 90s 1.2 Corsa and I re-drove in something considerably better I was surprised just how quick I used to go. Maybe I've got old and boring or maybe the speedo on the Corsa was a out. The roads hadn't changed though and I surprised myself that I could still remember them.

Am looking forward to revisiting some welsh roads in a few weeks time, for the first time in this car.

Generally I find it a good experience, even the last time when I revisited some fun roads in a Hyundai i10 (following a certain Exige, Boxster and AE86)

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Gwaredd said...

WTF were we thinking back then :lol:

We weren't thinking at all!

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Exploring the dark side in a brace of Bavaria's finest.

http://www.auto-journals.com/journals/BMW?model=Z1&journal=188

My uk house is just off the A68 - brilliant bit of road.

I do wish you slow people would stay off it mind. ;)

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Bunta's Tofu

Getting your first car which can manage 100mph and being young, that's obviously what you'd do, surely?
couchsurfing uk

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